Eyeway News Service; June 17, 2005
There is good news for people with blindness and visual impairments. Nitin Sule, a veteran psychologist with 10 years of working in the field of HIV and two years in the field of visual impairment, has started ‘Drushti Guide Dog School for Blind’. Supported by an able staff, Mr Sule can train up to 20 dogs at a time. The recipients are selected from a list of registrants. Over the next one year, Sule plans to expand his infrastructure so that 60 dogs can be trained at a time.
The unique aspect is that, since the recipients are selected before the training begins, these dogs are trained in the language of the blind person. Thus, a blind Gujarati person will get trained dogs who understand commands in Gujarati.
Sule has also initiated a ‘Drushti College of Animal Behaviour’. It will start functioning from August 15, 2005; the first batch of 10 people will be taught the intricacies of training guide dogs for blind people. The syllabus is based on similar American curricula; food and hostel facilities are also available. The minimum education required for admission is an S.S.C. certificate. The College is in Pali, about 110 kilometres from Mumbai.
Sule’s vision is that once his students finish their training and go home, they should start similar schools in their own region. Only then would India have more and more dog trainers, as well as trained dogs for blind people, in every region, and his institution is ready to provide assistance to people who want to do so.